It's just so insidious and distasteful
“Let me go grab that for you”
“I’ll go grab you a bottle of Veuve Cliquott and be right back”
“Can you grab me a burger?”
The word looks as ugly as it sounds.
And yet, everywhere I go I’m forced to face this insidious intrusion on everydayspeak.
“Can I grab you a bag for those?” I hear at the grocery store. No, thank you. They would then be grab-bags and I’m quite content with what I’ve chosen. I don’t need any random, grocery store misc thrown into my home in a grab-bag fashion.
That’s not the worst of it. The word ‘grab’ knows no limits, material or otherwise. It’s not enough for a server to ‘grab you a glass of water’.
(grab me a glass of water? How does that grab you? grab me? moistly, it’s annoying)
Now, they want to ‘grab your name and number for contact tracing purposes. Grab my name? How. Exactly. Is. This. Done? Is there a special tool for name and number grabbing? Perhaps we should order a nameandnumbergrabber - it’s a German device created to grab names and numbers in one easy step.
How does that grab you? Heh. The nameandnumbergrabber can grab you with a delicate touch, we ever names and numbers are found.
There is but one thing that I find more insidious and distasteful than the overuse of the word ‘grab’ - especially in the hospitality industry. This one thing more distasteful than grabbing somebody’s ‘spotted dick’ after a fine dining experience is the over use of shame as a shit sandwich served to control people.
People don’t like shame. When I wrote about my experience of a shame spiral, many of you reached out in messages and in the comments, checking in to see how I was. I am quite good. Shame is an experience that I move through with efficient familiarity.
If I’m writing about it here, it’s done and I’m looking for a fart joke. I don’t, at this moment have a fart joke. Instead, I’ll share a story that describes how I would experience shame as if it were a smell.
I once performed in the alleyway behind Honest Ed’s in Toronto. It seemed like a good idea, a neat location to put on a play. The issue? I checked the spot out on a brisk sub zero day in early March. The immediate, looming density of restaurants in the area became pungently clear during matinee performances that took place in thirty five degree weather plus humidity.
Maggots grow quickly. Rotten chicken stinks. Exploding bags of maggoty rotten chicken. Deep fryer fat. Decades stale domestic beer stench. I remember gagging relentlessly as we prepared the area to put on a performance there. People sat there. In that unmentionable stench. They sat there and watched a mediocre attempt at creating a clown show.
The smell made it remarkable. It was an assault. The actors were miserable. The people in the audience were miserable. Everybody was almost gagging. And they were laughing. It was so absolutely absurd. But the stench of maggoty rotten chicken during a heatwave is the only part of that play that I remember. And that’s what shame smells like.
I get it. Shame is gross. Despite shame’s insidious nature, it’s a good place to get data.
Shame is used because shame works. In order to disrupt shame, you need to know how it works.
So, if I write moron shame later this week (or perhaps tomorrow) I’m thinking about how does it function? What’s it for? How does it work? What are the mechanics? What’s the script and how does it play out?